In a record-breaking incident, a 72-year-old British man tested COVID-19 positive for 10 consecutive months in what is thought to be the longest recorded case of continuous infection, researchers said on Thursday.
Dave Smith, a retired driving instructor from Bristol in western England, said he tested positive 43 times that is over 305 days, was hospitalised seven times and had made plans for his funeral.
Smith had to be given a special antibody treatment to fight the virus. Dubbed by medical staff as the ‘miracle man’, Smith has finally tested negative to COVID-19 after being admitted to the hospital seven times.
His wife, Linda, who was quarantined with him at home, said, “There were a lot of times when we didn’t think he was going to pull through. It’s been a hell of a year.”
The driving instructor and musician told BBC News he caught the virus at the beginning of the outbreak in March last year. Smith lost more than 60kg weight during this period.
“I had a terrible cough. At one time, I coughed for five hours non-stop. I don’t mean cough, break, cough, break. I mean cough, cough, cough for five hours non-stop. If you can imagine the drain that puts on your body,” Smith said.
Overcoming the virus was especially difficult for Smith, who had a weakened immune system due to leukemia and chemotherapy.
Doctors eventually gave Smith a cocktail of drugs made by US pharmaceutical company Regeneron, which was used to treat former US President Donald Trump.
After just two weeks of treatment, Smith’s condition began to improve before he received a phone call to inform him of a negative test.
Smith’s case is now the subject of a study at Bristol University to find out if the virus can change and possibly mutate in one person.